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15,000 white flags honor Georgians who have died from COVID-19

“The White Flags of Georgia’s COVID-19 Devastation” memorial installation installed at Decatur Church.

White flags
Photo: / AFSC

ATLANTA (February 19, 2021) – On Sunday, February 21 a sea of 15,000 white flags will honor the lives of each of the Georgians lost to the COVID-19 epidemic. The installation on the site of a Decatur church highlights the heartbreaking human and economic impact that COVID-19 and our government's response has had on local communities. This action comes the U.S. House and Senate debate what kind of relief our communities will receive. 

At 3pm, faith leaders and elected officials, including Mayor of Decatur Patti Garrett, Georgia representatives Karla Drenner (85th District), Viola Davis (87th District), Kim Schoefield (60th District), Sandra Scott (76th District) will hold a brief press conference in front of the flags.

What: “The White Flags of Georgia’s COVID-19 Devastation” memorial installation press conference 

Who: Elected officials, local activists, COVID-19 survivors, American Friends Service Committee, and several Decatur Churches including  First Christian Church of Decatur, Oakhurst Presbyterian, Decatur First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Decatur, Oakhurst Baptist Church, Columbia Presbyterian Church, Decatur First United Methodist Church, Gentle Spirit, Clairmont Presbyterian, and Federation of Christian Ministries. 

When: Sunday, February 21 at 3pm (Flag planting will take place Saturday the 20ths at 11am) 

Where: First Christian Church of Decatur, 601 W Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030. Tune in remotely at https://www.facebook.com/afscsouthregion/

“I could have been one of the flags I’m planting. But instead, I wanted to honor those who have passed,” said Timothy Franzen, a COVID-19 survivor and program director for the American Friends Service Committee in Georgia. “Regular everyday Georgians are in need of life saving relief in order to avoid being evicted, feed their children, and receive healthcare during this historic pandemic” 

The installation will remain up until the following Sunday, February 28. Each day at 12pm and again at 5pm, a different faith leader will lead a prayer and names of Georgians we have lost to COVID-19 will be read. 

Inspired by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, this artistic activism will provide a powerful visual representation to elevate the need for a real, comprehensive government response for everyone in Georgia and across the country.  

The group is calling on Congress -- including the Georgian victors of the January 5th Senate runoff -- and the incoming administration to get to work on a COVID relief package that meets the scale of the public health and economic crisis; centers the needs of those most impacted; and ensures everyone is included.

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.